When entering Southern Accents showroom, the first thing that may catch your eye is the sparkle of a crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling, the row of beautiful wood doors neatly lined down the center aisle, an ornate mantel sitting against the brick wall, or perhaps our bright red antique Coca-Cola machine waiting to greet thirsty customers. What you don’t see in our showroom has become a very large part of our business, our salvaged wood.
Travel one mile from Southern Accents showroom and you will arrive at our wood warehouse. In what was a basketball gym in the 1960’s, now houses a huge collection of reclaimed wood, trim, and beams. Salvaged wood is highly sought after for a wide variety of uses. While the bulk of what we sell is used as flooring, much of it is also used to build doors, furniture, stair treads and various DIY projects. Beams are turned into rustic fireplace mantels and salvaged barn wood skins are used as wall and ceiling coverings. Odd pieces are quickly snatched up by DIY enthusiasts who always have that perfect project in mind!
The question, “Where do you get all of this wood?” is one that we hear often. All salvaged wood is wood that has been rescued from buildings that have been slated for demolition for a variety of reasons. Some of the wood that we acquire comes from a house or barn that we salvage ourselves. Much of the wood is acquired from large textile mills across the Southeast that are no longer producing goods. Because the bulk of the textile industry has moved overseas, many of these mills which were built during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, have sat empty for years and are now being torn down. The buildings are dismantled in reverse order from how they were constructed. Once the exterior material, typically brick, is removed, the wood decking is exposed and salvaged followed by the structural beams. Wood acquired from these very large salvage projects are stacked and sold in bulk.
Salvaging wood is an extremely labor intensive process. When we salvage a barn or house, we inspect the wood and look for signs of infestation of insects. Infested wood is culled and burned. Each piece of usable wood is then checked, by hand, with a metal detector for nails and any other metal fragments. All metal must be removed from every piece before it can be taken to the mill. The wood is then graded and stacked on pallets. We examine each stack of wood to determine how we can obtain the maximum yield. Wood that has been processed can be taken directly to the mill where it can be re-sawn, planed to a common thickness, straight lined to common widths, and perhaps tongue and grooved to use as flooring. Wood that has paint or stain on the exterior is typically cut to 1/2″ thick and used for colorful skins to maintain the original look that many of our customers seek for ceiling and wall decor.
If you are considering wood flooring for your home, engineered wood flooring is certainly less expensive, but cannot compare to the beauty of salvaged wood flooring. Salvaged, antique wood has character that tells a story. It should be considered an investment that adds value to your home. The use of salvage wood also serves a greater purpose. Reuse of these materials directly contributes to the sustainability of our planet.
While we have a variety of wood species in our warehouse at any given time, the most sought after wood is heart pine. Residing in the south, the heart pine is more readily available and is an excellent choice for flooring. When looking for wood for use as flooring, wall covering, furniture, a DIY project or that awesome rustic beam mantle, stop by our wood warehouse and consider using reclaimed wood for your next project. The warehouse is located at 250 Janeway Drive and open Tuesday – Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
Article written by: Lisa Jones
Southern Accents Webmaster/Marketing